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Volume 12, issue 2 | Copyright

Special issue: Mass balance of the Greenland Ice Sheet

The Cryosphere, 12, 635-655, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 23 Feb 2018

Research article | 23 Feb 2018

NHM–SMAP: spatially and temporally high-resolution nonhydrostatic atmospheric model coupled with detailed snow process model for Greenland Ice Sheet

Masashi Niwano1, Teruo Aoki2,1, Akihiro Hashimoto1, Sumito Matoba3, Satoru Yamaguchi4, Tomonori Tanikawa1, Koji Fujita5, Akane Tsushima6, Yoshinori Iizuka3, Rigen Shimada7, and Masahiro Hori7 Masashi Niwano et al.
  • 1Meteorological Research Institute, Japan Meteorological Agency, Tsukuba, 305-0052 Japan
  • 2Graduate School of Natural Science and Technology, Okayama University, Okayama, 700-8530 Japan
  • 3Institute of Low Temperature Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, 060-0819 Japan
  • 4Snow and Ice Research Center, National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Resilience, Nagaoka, 940-0821 Japan
  • 5Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Nagoya University, Nagoya, 464-8601 Japan
  • 6Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, Kyoto, 603-8047 Japan
  • 7Earth Observation Research Center, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Tsukuba, 305-8505 Japan

Abstract. To improve surface mass balance (SMB) estimates for the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS), we developed a 5km resolution regional climate model combining the Japan Meteorological Agency Non-Hydrostatic atmospheric Model and the Snow Metamorphism and Albedo Process model (NHM–SMAP) with an output interval of 1h, forced by the Japanese 55-year reanalysis (JRA-55). We used in situ data to evaluate NHM–SMAP in the GrIS during the 2011–2014 mass balance years. We investigated two options for the lower boundary conditions of the atmosphere: an offline configuration using snow, firn, and ice albedo, surface temperature data from JRA-55, and an online configuration using values from SMAP. The online configuration improved model performance in simulating 2m air temperature, suggesting that the surface analysis provided by JRA-55 is inadequate for the GrIS and that SMAP results can better simulate physical conditions of snow/firn/ice. It also reproduced the measured features of the GrIS climate, diurnal variations, and even a strong mesoscale wind event. In particular, it successfully reproduced the temporal evolution of the GrIS surface melt area extent as well as the record melt event around 12 July 2012, at which time the simulated melt area extent reached 92.4%. Sensitivity tests showed that the choice of calculation schemes for vertical water movement in snow and firn has an effect as great as 200Gtyear−1 in the GrIS-wide accumulated SMB estimates; a scheme based on the Richards equation provided the best performance.

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Short summary
We present a high-resolution regional climate model called NHM–SMAP applied to the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS). The model forced by JRA-55 reanalysis is evaluated using in situ data from automated weather stations, stake measurements, and ice core obtained from 2011 to 2014. By utilizing the model, we highlight that the choice of calculation schemes for vertical water movement in snow and firn has an effect of up to 200 Gt/year in the yearly accumulated GrIS-wide surface mass balance estimates.
We present a high-resolution regional climate model called NHM–SMAP applied to the Greenland Ice...